The junior college transfers that arrived early enough to participate in spring practice for TCU have impressed coach Gary Patterson.
“These guys have really come in and had a purpose,” Patterson said Thursday after the Horned Frogs’ fourth practice of the spring, which included an 18-play scrimmage at Amon G. Carter Stadium. “I’ve really been proud of the transfer guys.”
Four JC transfers — defensive end Mat Boesen, offensive lineman Chris Gaynor, safety Markell Simmons and receiver Taj Williams — and graduate transfer receiver John Diarse are going through spring drills with the Frogs. They bring experience and starting potential in some cases, as part of TCU’s highest-ranked signing class ever.
Two more JC transfers will join in the fall, linebacker Tyree Horton and receiver Ryan Parker.
“All five guys that have come in, they’ve done a great job going to class,” Patterson said. “They’ve done a great job in practice and work ethic and learning.”
Four freshmen also enrolled early and are practicing. They are receiver Isaiah Graham, running back Sewo Olonilua, tight end Artayvious Lynn and quarterback Brennen Wooten. But they aren’t as far along, Patterson said.
“A little bit more behind,” Patterson said. “But Isaiah Graham has been a guy. He really helped himself in the off-season. He got bigger and stronger.”
The team had two practices in shorts and one in pads before Thursday’s work, which included a middle drill.
“We’ve got a long ways to go,” Patterson said. “We’ve got a long way to go at quarterback, a long way to go at offensive line, a long way to go up front at the defensive tackle position. We’re not as physical as we need to be. And we have to find corners.”
Patterson said the offensive line needs more plays as the team works to develop depth there and replace four starters.
“Right now, we don’t feel like we have anything past the first five,” Patterson said. “We’ve got a lot of growing up to do in our second offensive line; to be honest with you, even in our first. We need a lot of 11-on-11 for our football team — for our offensive line, for the quarterbacks, for the D-line. We just need a lot of 11-on-11. It’s hit-and-miss right now. It’s really hard for the offensive line and defensive line to go two days of shorts and one day of practice and then scrimmage.”
QBs and receivers
A still-developing offensive line also makes it hard to judge quarterbacks and receivers because they don’t have time to connect downfield, Patterson said.
“It doesn’t matter how good you are if you can’t protect and you can’t get the ball to them,” he said. “We’ve got a long ways to go when it comes to that. But we’re only in practice 4. We haven’t even gone through a second cycle of teaching. We’ve just got a lot of work to do.”
Kickers penciled in
Patterson said Adam Nunez is penciled in as the new punter, and Jonathan Song is the place-kicker.
TCU had two of the most veteran kickers in the Big 12 last season with Ethan Perry at punter and Jaden Oberkrom at kicker.